“It’s remarkable that Apple Computer Inc., heading the BusinessWeek 50 list of the best corporate performers, was on the brink not so long ago… While the iPod gets most of the headlines, the Mac still brought in 39% of Apple’s sales in 2005. And while most analysts think that iPod sales will continue to skyrocket for the next couple of years, they also believe that the music player market will come back to earth at some point. ‘The Mac will be increasingly important [to Apple’s growth] in the last years of the decade,’ says Needham & Co. analyst Charles Wolf,” BusinessWeek reports. “The reason is straightforward: On the whole, PCs are much bigger than digital music. Right now, Apple dominates the digital music player market, which is expected to hit $12 billion in 2009, with a share of more than 70%. But Apple has just 5% of the $75 billion home PC market. Each additional point of PC market share that Apple gains would equal roughly $750 million in sales. That’s a big chunk for a $16 billion company. Shaw Wu, an analyst at American Technology Research, thinks Mac sales could grow 25% in 2007, vs. 10% for the broader industry. Beginning in 2007, says Wu, ‘I think the Mac business will outgrow the iPod business.'”
“There are plenty of reasons to expect a Macintosh renaissance. Currently, Apple is struggling to meet demand for its new MacBook Pro laptop despite a $1,900 price tag that is nearly twice that of garden-variety rivals. Apple-watchers expect the company to launch lower-priced MacBooks in coming months to compete for the lion’s share of the market. By early next year, Adobe Systems Inc. will have converted its popular graphics and Web publishing software to run at top speed on the new Intel-based Macs, a critical event for Mac power users,” BusinessWeek reports. “Apple has some wild cards it can play to goose the Mac’s market share, as well. While Apple won’t comment, Needham’s Wolf believes that the Intel-based Macs will be able to run Windows programs right along with Mac titles by yearend. That could entice hordes of disgruntled PC owners to give the Mac a shot, secure in the knowledge that they can continue using familiar programs. This prospect seems to resonate among younger buyers, where Apple’s resurgence has been most pronounced. Earlier this year, Wolf surveyed 255 college students, and the number of Windows-compatible PC owners who said they would “definitely” buy a Mac if it had this capability jumped from 1.8% to 13.5%.”
BusinessWeek reports, “In the longer term, Apple could still try an oft-debated strategy: licensing its Mac software to other PC makers. Dell Inc. has already expressed an interest in stamping out Mac clones, much as it does with Windows-based PCs today. With more companies hawking Macs, Apple’s market share could rise into double digits. “Multiple PC makers have expressed an interest. It’s not just Dell,” says Kay.”
More in the full article here.
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